The Flash: 5.17 Time Bomb
It’s bemusing that now, six episodes away from the finale, that they choose to re-establish the main antagonist. Thankfully, it was in an enjoyable instalment. As previously mentioned, the villain arc this season has been very poor and disjointed but, thanks to the shake up last week with future Grace-Cicada taking over the mantel from her uncle, things are beginning to look up. Not only does Time Bomb pay more attention to the villain, but it finally acted on the whole Sherloque /Nora/ Eobard Thawne mystery.
Future Grace’s Cicada is a far superior and menacing villain to Orlin’s. For starters her motives are more understandable; she’s taken on her uncle’s mantra of ‘kill all Meta’s’, and she’s also determined to get revenge on the Meta who killed her parents. Her more substantial abilities brought levity to the whole situation, allowing the viewer to hypothetically believe that team Flash could be bested. Her daggers can keep up with Speedsters; she can block travel through breeches and disable Meta human abilities. She is practically the opposite of our heroes, and if nothing else, a well thought out enemy.
It's the time travel element is this episodes narrative that I found hard to digest; there’s simply too many unanswered questions. Why does Grace choose this moment? Was it a coincidence that she turned up the second Orlin-Cicada was cured? Why can Nora see what future Grace is about to do when she was mind-melded with her younger self? Will Cisco and the team up the security on their Starchives building? All these and more will undoubtedly be answered in future episodes but the addition of even more time travel arcs creates an air of confusion that just feels lazy.
Regardless, the action sequences, pacing and consistency all came together beautifully, even Ralph’s side endeavour, to take Cisco and his social media official relationship to the next level, mixed well. The interaction between Orlin and his future evil niece brought some thought-provoking character development, such as new perceptions of his previous behaviour, and her clear confusion that he no longer wants to kill. While his turn to the light side and ultimate death was heavily predictable, it incorporated more decent dialogue and should allow the villainous narrative to move forward.
By far the most entertaining plot was Nora’s secret finally being uncovered by Sherloque. Watching the great detective decipher that Nora is in fact working with Barry’s arch nemesis, was both relieving and a pleasure to watch unfold. Whether you have liked the countless iteration’s of Harrison Wells, it cannot be denied that Tom Cavanagh is a brilliant actor; seeing him in one scene being Sherloque, watching the Thawne/Wells video, while sitting in the wheelchair from season one was a nice nod to past storylines and included easter eggs for us geeks, which is always a bonus. Eobard Thawne’s inclusion developed an eerie atmosphere, and witnessing a mentally defeated version was refreshing. The countdown clock was again depicted, which brought a sense of urgency.
Admittedly, Sherloque’s final reveal to the whole team came across callous and cruel, but while Nora may be a lovable character, it cannot be glossed over that she has lied to her family and friends. Was it with good reason? Quite possibly. Either way, the reactions plus locking her in the pipeline, were both surprising and delivered superb performances from both Gustin (Barry), and Kennedy (Nora). Could we see another standoff between Barry and the Reverse Flash? This arc promises as much but where that leaves Grace-Cicada is worrying.
Time Bomb may not have completely put the Cicada arc to bed, but it certainly lit a fire up under it, and while still being the weakest antagonist the Flash has seen thus far, is now significantly more watchable. Additionally, this episode has built up some explosive tension that will no doubt be expelled next episode and that; I for one can’t wait to see.